PC rendered unusable after attempting to install SP1 using Windows Update

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Ideas:

  • Programs you are having problems with
Windows Vista Home Premium
  • Error messages
PC unable to restart.
  • Recent changes you made to your computer
None. Trying to bring machine up to date for my sister's family after it sat in their storage closet for 6 months.

After downloading the SP1 update. The install was attempted and resulted in a restart that told me the PC was unable to restart.


I have followed all the steps outlined in a link suggested by Michael Murphy
in another thread (Vista SP1 update RUINED my computer) at 

The person who started this thread experienced exactly what I am experiencing. No follow-up or feedback to answer.

The suggested steps are located at .....  

The Startup Repair (figure 5) has been running for more than four hours.
  • What you have already tried to fix the problem
I have followed all the recommended steps as outlined above but I am kept going in circles. I am requested to perform the same tasks over and over again without success.

I don't have any of the original software. My sister and her children have no idea where it is. I had to insert a Vista business version disc that I have in order to boot to the repair screen.

I don't want to re-install for fear of losing the Microsoft Office software that is on the machine. Again, no idea where the software is.

Any ideas would be appreciated. I want to return this machine when I visit during the up coming holidays.

Machine: HP a6130n w/ 3gb RAM
Answer
Answer

You are seeing the effects of a hijackware infection. See...

     Help: I Got Hacked. Now What Do I Do?
     http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc700813.aspx

Back-up any personal data (none of which should be considered 100% trustworthy at this point), format the hard-drive & then do a clean install of Windows. Please note that a Repair Install (AKA in-place upgrade) CANNOT fix this!

    • How to back up or transfer your data on a Windows-based computer
       http://support.microsoft.com/kb/971759

HOW TO do a clean install of Vista: See the "To install Windows by performing a clean installation" (or the "To reinstall Windows Vista") section of http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-vista/Installing-and-reinstalling-Windows-Vista

NOTE: If your computer didn't come with a set of disks, there will be a hidden Recovery partition (not to be confused with System Restore) you would use to do the clean install (AKA a "destructive recovery").

After the clean install, you will have the equivalent of a "new computer" so take care of EVERYTHING in the list below, in order, BEFORE otherwise connecting the machine to the internet or a local network (i.e., other computers) AND BEFORE connecting a flash drive, SDCard, or any other external drive to the computer:

  1. Make sure the Windows Firewall is enabled: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-vista/Turn-Windows-Firewall-on-or-off

  2. Uninstall any now-invalid Norton, McAfee, etc., free-trialware which may have been reinstalled, run the appropriate removal tool (see below), then install the anti-virus application of your choice (e.g., Microsoft Security Essentials - free).

  3. Check in at Windows Update & get the computer fully-patched: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-vista/How-can-I-tell-if-my-computer-is-up-to-date

  4. If your anti-virus application doesn't include an anti-spyware component, make sure that Windows Defender is enabled & fully-updated: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/Using-Windows-Defender [1]

Tip: After getting the computer fully-patched, download/install KB971029 manually [or via Windows Update] before connecting any external drive to the computer: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/971029 [2]

VERY IMPORTANT!! =>  Any Norton or McAfee free-trial that came preinstalled on the computer when you bought it will be reinstalled (but invalid) when Windows is reinstalled. You MUST uninstall the free-trial AND download/run the appropriate removal tool BEFORE installing any updates, Windows Service Packs or IE upgrades AND BEFORE installing your new anti-virus application (e.g., Microsoft Security Essentials - free).

     Norton Removal Tool
     ftp://ftp.symantec.com/public/english_us_canada/removal_tools/Norton_Removal_Tool.exe

     McAfee Consumer Products Removal Tool
     http://us.mcafee.com/apps/supporttools/mcpr/mcpr.asp

Also see:

Risks & Benefits of P2P file sharing

  • http://www.microsoft.com/protect/data/downloadfileshare/filesharing.aspx
  • http://blogs.technet.com/mmpc/archive/2008/10/06/the-cost-of-free-software.aspx
  • http://www.us-cert.gov/cas/tips/ST05-007.html

Steps To Help Prevent Spyware
http://www.microsoft.com/security/spyware/prevent.aspx 

Steps to Help Prevent Computer Worms
http://www.microsoft.com/security/worms/prevent.aspx

Avoid Rogue Security Software!
http://www.microsoft.com/security/antivirus/rogue.aspx

If you need additional assistance with the clean install, please begin your own, new thread in this forum: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_vista-system

If these procedures look too complex - and there is no shame in admitting this isn't your cup of tea - take the machine to a local, reputable and independent (i.e., not a "BigBox" Store or Geek Squad) computer repair shop & have them do the work.

Note: The computer should not be connected to internet or any local networks (i.e., other computers) in its current state. All of your personal data (e.g., online banking & credit-card passwords) should be considered at-risk, if not already compromised.

Wish I'd had better news for you.  Good luck!

===========================================================
[1] Note: Microsoft Security Essentials includes an anti-malware component "based on Defender technologies" so installing MSE will disable Defender by default.
[2] Effective 08 Feb-11, KB971029 will be offered via Windows Update.

--
~Robear Dyer (PA Bear)
Microsoft MVP (Windows Client) since October 2002

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Last updated September 28, 2018 Views 23,676 Applies to: